The satirical news organization "The Onion" caused a huge controversy after tweeting an offensive description of 9-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis that included the c-word. Wallis was became the youngest Academy Award nominee for Best Actress after her breakout role in the critically-acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild.
The tweet was "retweeted more than 500 times and favorited by some 400 users" before it was deleted an hour later, reported The Associated Press.
"At what point does “satire” fall into the disrespectful and disgusting category? Just wondering," asked Uptown magazine.
"This isn’t me mistaking the Onion’s sarcasm and satire for an actual headline. This is a human being w/a job calling a 9 y.o. a cunt," tweeted writer Dream Hampton.
I'm more surprised when the world gets it right when it comes to Black girls and women than I am when they get it wrong. Sisters are far too often on the butt-end of a joke or diss lobbed by some White folks or our own brothers. The First Lady's brains, body and bangs are the subject of scrutiny from both writers and conservative leaders who couldn't even level their White and male privilege to match her accomplishments. Beyonce was a treasonist for using a backing track at the Inauguration. And now, on what should have been the most sparkly day of Quvenzhané's life, some fool made a cheap attempt at getting LOLz by calling her a dirty word.
I wish that Quvenzhané could enjoy her newfound fame without these hard-earned Black girl lessons, but they would have caught her on the block, in the classroom, on the internet at some point even if she hadn't garnered an Oscar nod. The outpouring of praise and love for the young actress is exceptional, but the disrespect? When you're Black and female, it is to be expected. When you are self-possessed and in the public eye on top of that? It's on another level.
The Onion CEO Steve Hannah released this statement on the company's official Facebook page late this morning:
On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.
No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.
The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication. We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again. In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.
Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.
They couldn't even let a 9-year-old Black girl be a princes for a day. Shameful.